June 22, 2002
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Ten Demandments
I am a book lover. But then youve probably already gathered that from previous reviews. Youve also probably heard all the reasons we love books before: a book can inspire, teach, take you places youve never traveled, offer an escape from the stresses of ordinary life, etc. But the unsung thing I love most about books is that they are simply that: books. The smell, the crisp pages of a new book, the cover design, the blurb on the back, the convenience of a paperback, the heft of a hardcover. I love it all. No e-books for me (but certainly, if they are for you, keeping reading!). As I have mentioned before, I have stacks and stacks of new books laying around my office, and it is often something as seemingly frivolous as, say, its size that will inspire me to pick one book out of a crowd. One of the books that I have previously listed as one of the best business books of all time was one that I first picked up because of the books design. That book, The Age of Unreason, was a hardcover, but in a trimmer size than usual it seemed to fit so nicely in my hand. This book also has the same trim size, has great heft and a wonderful cover design. Granted, the title put me off a bit because it seemed a bit too clever, but I picked it up, paged through it, and was impressed by more than the publishers packaging. Within the covers, the special design continued. It contains unique features like The Voice of the Customer, boxed articles about real life businesses and their experiences, and actual pictures of peoples faces to symbolize your customer base.
However, the age-old advice, dont judge a book by its cover holds true no matter what aesthetic machinations are accomplished by the publisher. What about the content, you must be asking by now? Well, the content is as outstanding as the package. As Ive already applauded the publisher for its handling of the book, let me now applaud the author, Kelly Mooney, for writing a really terrific book, and get started explaining to you those ten demandments. They are: earn my trust; inspire me; make it easy; put me in charge; guide me; 24/7; get to know me; exceed my expectations; reward me; and stay with me. Isnt that a great list! I cant recall a better list of essentials when dealing with customers. In every chapter, each subheading is a statement that might be uttered by one of your customers (the aforementioned, Voice of the Customer). In the get to know me chapter, those subheadings are: The world revolves around me; Live in my shoes; Tell me how much business I did with you; Take it slow; See me as one customer; Speak my language. As you can see, there is some serious drilling down to the good stuff going on in this book. At the end of each chapter, the author has placed a Self-Examination grid with the chapters main points listed with various degrees of success rated between Excellent/Good/Bad. By using this scale, you are able to rate how well you deal with your customers and where you need to improve.
I was briefly concerned this was set to be another Dot.com/Internet book, but Mooney puts that worry to rest in her Introduction. She states: This book is not about the Internet, but rather about what, in part, the Internet hath wrought, in terms of consumer expectations and demands, and the ways that companies must strive to meet these increased needs in every channel and with every interaction. I believe she not only succeeds, but that this is an important book that seriously opened my eyes to some flaws in my companys relationship with our clients. For me, this book was an invaluable reading experience, not just a pleasurable one, and I expect you will agree.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.